A Different Kind Of Journey….

So…the main reason for my CWP journey was to get my BMI below 30 so I could start another journey for IVF.

So when I was first referred to EFREC they first wanted to make sure nothing was biologically wrong.

initial referral to EFREC

First step – discussion with a consultant – all OK. Then an internal ultrasound (which turned out to be the first of many!) – all OK. Then pee in a pot once a week for 8 weeks so the hormones can be analysed – all OK. The final investigation was a delight….the HSG (Hysterosalpingography) for this one dye is inserted into the uterus via a catheter. Then several xrays are taken as the dye spreads to ensure the fallopian tubes aren’t blocked – again all OK.

Another meeting with the consultant – there was nothing biologically or physically wrong. Everything came back as would be expected in a young healthy couple.

We have what is termed “unexplained infertility” the only option here is IVF.

Now I’ve made this part sound very blunt. The consultant Dr Duncan was amazing. He explained fully that other fertility treatments were not an option as our bodies were already doing everything they were meant to. All the other available fertility treatments are designed for people who aren’t that lucky.

Only problem …. I weighed a fair bit more than the required 12 stone (BMI 30 for me) so all I had to do to be put on the IVF wait list was lose some weight **for those who have followed the rest of the blog, my Slimming World journey slots in around about here somewhere**

The pressure and stress of all of this made the weight loss difficult. It in fact took over a year before I was added to the list! I eventually in August 2017 decided enough was enough started Cambridge Weight Plan **I’ve blogged a fair bit about this too** and lost what I needed. On 29th November 2017 I was under BMI 30 and was added to the list!

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The start of our IVF journey (Or so I thought)

We were told the wait time was 6-12 months. So we decided to work on the assumption that we wouldn’t be top of the list til November 2018. We booked a holiday, an amazing 2 weeks in Dominican Republic! All inclusive luxury. We couldn’t wait!

We got a letter a few months later. Confirming our place on the list and giving a list of do’s and don’ts for being on the list. One of these lists was a warning about the Zika virus. We called EFREC and advised  we were flying for 2 weeks to the Dominican in May. They advised that was fine but if we got to the top of the list within 6 months of coming home it wouldn’t matter they would have to wait to ensure I was not infected or at risk.

We were at a crossroads!! On one hand that 6 months would take us to November 2018 which was when we were anticipating being at the top of the list so no harm done right?? On the other hand WHAT IF!!!!! What if we got to the top sooner but then couldn’t go ahead. We discussed and discussed some more and after a chat with the sister and brother in law (who were also booked to fly to Dominican) we decided it wasn’t worth it. We went to the travel agent and changed our holiday to Tenerife. We had a ball!

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the ACTUAL start of our IVF journey

When we got back we ended up being so glad for that decision. We got home on 25th May. 2 weeks later on the 8th June I received a phone call advising we were at the top of the list and our first appointment with the consultant was booked for the 12th June 2018.

Appointment 1 – this is with a consultant. If you do not retain information well and you are ever going through this take a pad and take notes!! I am medically trained and have read a lot of literature and was still a bit bamboozled by the sheer volume of information. Again the consultant was amazing and explained everything in detail. He even drew some diagrams for us.

Then we went to a different room and I saw an all to familiar sight. My second date with the internal ultrasound. This time my significant other was in the room and this time wasn’t a “quickie” he examined both ovaries and the uterus. Took ultrasound pics of it all and counted the follicles around each ovary. I was assured all was perfectly normal and there was nothing to worry about.

He said he was happy with everything and would put us forward to start the ‘short’ or ‘antagonist’ programme in August.

I also has my weight checked to make sure I was still <bmi 30 and some bloods and blood pressure were also checked. These would get discussed in full at our next appointment.

Appointment 2 – this time with a nurse. At this appointment we were told everything was good with the tests. I had a good ovarian reserve. There was nothing wrong on his end…we were to go for “straight forward IVF” which is an oxymoron in itself. Although it’s the simplest of the routes, based on the pages of reading we were given, there’s very little straight forward about it!!!

So here’s the short version of what we were facing in the upcoming months

– day 1 of my July cycle I call and go in for another date with my good friend the internal ultrasound. There is a “practice run” of the embryo transfer so they can see if they are going to encounter any problems when it’s a go for the real thing. Then I get started on the contraceptive pill. This is to suppress my natural hormones and stop my body doing what it’s supposed to.

– after 10-14 days the pill is stopped. I have 5 days of nothing, in which there may be a small bleed. After the 5 days I start the hormone injections. There are 2 injections. One will continue to suppress the pituitary gland and the other to stimulate the follicles to ripen into viable eggs. Again This is for 10-14 days during which I will have another 3 (approx) dates with the internal ultrasound. During each of these scans the follicles will be measured and as soon as there are at least 3 measuring >1.8 We are good to go….

– I will get an injection that will cause the eggs that have ripened to get ready to release. This injection is given 36 hours prior to surgery so it’s quite tightly timed.

– after 36 hours I will go for surgery. I will be sedated and go to theatre to have all follicles drained in hopes of recovering as many eggs as possible. While I am in surgery my significant other with also be required to part with a sample under slightly less extreme circumstances!!!

We will then meet up in my post op recovery.

There will be a slight waiting game here. The eggs and sperm will be mixed in the lab and in a day or 2 they will call to let us know if there has been successful fertilisation. We will be updated every few days and either 2 3 or 5 days later there will hopefully be a good quality embryo to put back in!!!!

The nurse explained all of this to us. She was very passionate about it which made me trust in what she was saying. The one thing she was most passionate about was the appointments. Obviously I need to be at all appointments. She said my other half was welcome at all of them but didn’t have to be there – except the embryo transfer. She said this was still up to us but “that’s when baby is officially there…why would you not want to be side by side” – her emotion and passion made it all so real!

We left full of information and willing the next 3 week’s of our lives away!! I joked I’ve never wanted a period to start so bad in all my life!!

So that’s what I took from my appointments. My next post will be about the start of treatment and what actually happens to me in comparison to what I’ve said above which is what I think is going to happen.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride!!

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